Stephen Colbert spent the 2016 presidential election repeatedly mocking Donald Trump, turning him into a cartoon, calling him names, and so on. So when Trump won the presidency on Tuesday, Colbert was just as shocked as many other Americans. As he told it on Wednesday night, that feeling of shock was difficult for him to shake all day.
“We have to accept that Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States,” Colbert said. When the audience groaned, he continued, “No, I get that feeling completely, I just had to say it one more time. I just want to keep saying it until I can say it without throwing up in my mouth a little bit. It feels like a little bit of a dream state. All day I’ve had to remind myself this isn’t a dream. I’m not on a peyote trip on the hunt of the Great Deer. This is real. And no matter what the GOP is saying publicly, I think they might be feeling the same way. Because remember, the Republican Party spent the entirety of this election in panic, trying to stop Donald Trump from being the nominee. And when they couldn’t, surprise! They won the presidency, both houses of Congress, and a seat on the Supreme Court. It’s like the GOP got caught in a plunging elevator, and they all fell 10 stories screaming, only for the doors to open on a candy store where everything’s free.”
In the rest of his monologue, Colbert worked through various elements of the Trump victory: how to tell your kids, how to cope (hint: sexy kitten ears can be fun), before eventually coming to the common refrain of moving to Canada to escape Trump.
“I can understand why Canada is so attractive — you’ve got the free health care, and a prime minister who looks like the prince from Tangled,” Colbert said. “But listen up there, everybody out there who’s saying ‘I’m gonna move to Canada’: You don’t get to flee when things get rough here. Being an American citizen is like family. You’re in it whether you like it or not.”
Colbert is a religious guy, so of course he wonders why God would allow a Trump presidency. He even staged a mock conversation with God, who was just as surprised as anybody to learn Clinton winning the popular vote didn’t mean much, and who doesn’t understand the Electoral College any better than you do. There was some biting criticism in there too.
“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised white men came out on top again, considering how everyone assumes I look,” God said.
Ultimately, Colbert’s message was best articulated when he was discussing the protests that burst out across the country on Wednesday night in response to Trump’s shocking win.
“I just want to say: Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, First Amendment,” Colbert said. “The most important things we can do together. Don’t stop speaking up, don’t stop speaking your mind, don’t ever be cowed by whatever happens in the next four years.”
Watch the clip below.